Thursday, September 29, 2005

HBO miniseries, "Rome"

Watched the first 4 episodes. Granted, I've never watched any other HBO TV series besides "Sex and the City", though I have heard of and found the premise interesting for shows such as:

The Sopranos
Six Feet Under

What made "Rome" interesting is kind of like what makes "Lost" interesting : the TV show is done so well with such detail that each episode is almost like a movie, with definate movie quality :) A nice mix of drama, and bits of humour and grit.

What's great about Rome is that:
  • The producers tried to stay true to the culture of the time (50 BC). This is pre-christian era. For example, lots of gratuitous sex.
  • The characters are either very likable or "love to hate", like Ceaser's neice, who, in the course of only 3 episodes:
    • slept with this ugly annoying guy just to get extra uneeded protection for her estate
    • Ceasar left it to her discretion to "pick" a new wife for his politican friend. She chose her daughter, who was already married, and forced her to get a divorce. If the daughter didn't get the divorce, she'd have her husband murdered.
    • Her daughter's marriage to Caesar's politican friend flops, and to ensure her daughter doesn't get back with her "unfit" ex-husband (ie he doesn't have money, but the daughter loves him, oh well) she has him murdered.
    • Of course she convinces her daughter that she had nothing to do with the murder. I think the daughter is going to rip out her mother's throat with her bare hands by the end of season 1 , though :)
    • Sends her son out (who she does seeminly like more than the daughter, by a small margin) to meet Ceaser, with only 1 guard, into enemy territory. Real bright, bitch.
    • Perhaps to keep the favour of the gods, or something, she gets bathed/soaked in freshly murdered Ox's blood. Hrmm, must have been a strange custom of the time.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Closed Minded Science

Closed Minded Science

Thomas Gold basically is saying that most research money is only awarded to research that supports current theories that have well established foundations (like the biological origin of oil), not that try to build new theories or foundations.

Which of course, is a good and bad thing, a ying and yang. An excellent way to speed up progression is to build upon the foundation of knowledge made by others. However, at some point, the "base" or foundation can only support so much more information on top of it, and the foundation may turn out to be entirely wrong or not sufficient enough to explore new applications.

For example, Newton's laws of physics were heralded as complete for centuries, until Einstein and other physists led to the development of quantam physics. Newton's laws still work great for most things, except on the microscopic level :)

Thomas Gold might not be right, but after reading excerpts from his book, it's clear that scientific community surrounding petroleum is a bit closed minded. It would be my hope that this is an exception to the rule, not the rule itself, and that other scientific communities are more open minded. Alas, however, humans do have the tendency to repeat historical mistakes ;)

Of course, even if the abiotic origin of oil is true, and oil won't run out 20 years from now like the "Peak oil" predicts (which I'm having a hard time believing now that I've did some reading on the subject: apparently it was also predicted in the 70's,based on the "peak oil" model, that oil would run dry by the late 1990's), it's best if people continue to believe oil is more scarce than it actually is. Why? Environmental reasons. Our consumption of oil needs to, at the least, not increase much further. I'd like to be able to breathe later in life :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The Deep Hot Biosphere Con't

I picked up a copy today from the Leddy Library here at the U. Funny, after being here 4 years in undergrad, I've never had to use the library to check out a book. First time for everything, I guess.

Pretty good read so far. The author was originally an electrical engineer, w00! Heh. Back in the 40's he presented the idea that the frequency selectivity of our ears is done with resonating hair like membranes in the inner ear, whereas at the time it was believed the frequency response was performed entirely in the brain. 30 years later, the "experts" concided that he was right . People believed the world was flat, once, too :) Of course, this Gold guy has been wrong, too. No one's perfect. That's the fun of science.

This guy went on to some other theory about the earth's pole's reversing every few million years or so. He ended up being right, even though the experts told him to get the hell out since it wasn't his field of expertise.

The majority of experts still cling to the fossil fuels theory, but time will tell what ideas are right ;)

I guess to show: just because you are not an expert in a field, doesn't mean you can't become one, or atleast explore some area of it. Anyway, many concepts taught in different fields end up applying to a multitude of different fields, ie. frequency analysis, is used in all types of engineering, natural sciences, astronomy, as well as geology (predicting earth quakes and stuff.)

Monday, September 26, 2005

Oil will "run dry" within 30 years -- is this really true?

Scientist Thomas Gold thinks not. The whole idea of "fossil fuels" is that they are in limited supply underground --- over millions of years the pressure built up on organic matter to form the fossil fuels - oil, coal, natural gas, etc. This is what we have been taught in school, and is the standard accepted theory -- right now, that is. It hasn't been "proven", in the scientific sense.

Gold basically presents to the reader a theory that has explained many digs and strange occurrances of oil that can't easily be explained by the current fossil fuel model, and has been explored by the Russians for over a half a century now.

"Fascinating reading...microbes freeing oxygen from iron oxide(leaving magnetite, marking accessible oil for us) so they can oxidize petroleum as food, cells surviving at temperatures high enough to make steam because steam cannot form at such pressure."

Anyway, this theory basically says that more oil is being produced as it is used up, and hence there is a lot more oil than the current models predict.

I think I'm going to have to pick up a copy of this book.

Through Algonquin to Petawawa

Me and Dani (or is it Dani and I.. I no longer care that much about grammer ;) ) took a nice little drive up to Petawawa to see our friends and our niece Annabella.

I've never drove through Northern Ontario, I must say, it was a beautiful drive. When I get the chance I'd like to spend some more time up North. Every 5 minutes there's a nice landscape picteresque lake/hills/forest view ;) Took a little bit of detour to drive through the southern part of Algonquin park on Highway 60 past the Muskoka region.

The trees themselves were very colorful, as it is Fall afterall now ;)

The Petawawa region was nice.. our friend's place had a 5 minute walk to a nice section of the Ottawa river.

Hell, I'd love to have a place up their, if I can find some work up there. Air is much cleaner :)

It's horrible really.. I call myself Canadian, and yet have seen so little of the country. I'd definately love to take a road trip to BC someday (not just for their world renowned herbs ;)) I've never been to Florida either , love to drive through the mountains to Disney World. I'm still jealous that I'm the only one in my household who's never been ;)

Monday, September 12, 2005

Stratford Ovation Festival 2005

All round great time!

On Saturday the highlight was Our Lady Peace, the headliner, duh --- although I hadn't really heard much of there new album beforehand, what I did hear was good. And I love their older songs and those from their past few albums -- Naveed, Starseed, 4AM, Superman's Dead. The Life mix with Naveed (or was it Starseed?) was also rad.

Finger 11 was also very good in concert, and Sloan even had a little kid who knew all the words to their songs and wasn't afraid to sing on stage with them ;)

Sunday started off a little slow, the beers and sun made for a good time. Fefe Dobson, K-O's (yes I know it's pronounced chaos) and Divine Brown really aren't my type of music, although it made for good music in it's own right I guess ;)

The BNL all and made up for that. They are exceptional performers, in that they have tons of energy and comedy onstage. They sincerely make you feel like your hometown, or in this case, all of southwest Ontario, are really important :) I loved their jokes on area 519, the "when ya gotta pee" story, and we can't forget, FAG automotive.

The turnout was pretty good, and I hope there will be another Ovation Music Festival next summer. From a technical viewpoint, the music quality was great no matter where you sat/stood, and the projectors helped better view the antics of the BNL if better if you weren't that close to the stage . I'll definately bring blankets to sit down on next year, as standing for 6 hours + is a bit much.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

The Da Vinci Code and History

I really like Dan Brown's books -- I've read the illustrated editions of Angels and Demons, and just finished The Da Vinci Code today.

Sure, some novel critics will say the characters are somewhat 1 dimensional, blah blah blah, but I dion't really give a shit what critics think half the time. It was a thought provoking, entertaining page turner. Wasn't really MEANT to be much else. People just miss the point. Like Rogert Ebert wondering why "Dude Where's My Car" isn't more intellectual.

I won't spoil it for anyone who will read it in the future (I recommend it), but suffice to say, I've learnd a fair bit about:
● Art history
● European locations and architecture. Damn, makes me want to visit Eurpoe.
●Da Vinci's works (like why is the Mona Lisa, a seemingly bland picture of a bland looking woman, the most famous painting ever???)
●what the Holy Grail actually is (my previous knowledge stemmed mostly from Monty Python.)
●Secret societies and such (Knights Templar, Priory of Sion, Illuminati).

Of course, I understand, the author, Dan Brown is not a well renowned Historian, but it's fiction after all.

A small set of Catholic groups are upset because theories presented by the ficitional characters undermine the fundamentals of Catholicism. Then again, the new Pope probably is in this group as well, since he publically denounced Harry Potter as well.

Well, I thought they were very interesting theories indeed. Sure, they can be disproven by historical records, and proven by others, however, I quote Dan Brown:

"Since the beginning of recorded time, history has been written by the "winners" (those societies and belief systems that conquered and survived). Despite an obvious bias in this accounting method, we still measure the "historical accuracy" of a given concept by examining how well it concurs with our existing historical record. Many historians now believe (as do I) that in gauging the historical accuracy of a given concept, we should first ask ourselves a far deeper question: How historically accurate is history itself?"

It's always a possibility that some of what Dan Brown write's a truth. But we'll never know. Unless of course someone does find the "Holy Grail". Gotta have faith I guess.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Hurricane in New Orleans

A very unfortunate event. A long internet friend of mine who lives in the flooded region had to flee with his family a week ago (he does every few years when there is a hurricane in the area.)
I'm glad he did.

It's unfortunate also that experts knew this event was an inevitability. The 540 km of levies in the region will hold out most storms (as the New Orleans region is below sea level), but experts had agreed they needed to be improved to hold up to subsequent hurricanes. :/

I imagine improving 540 km of levies would be a massive undertaking, however.

What makes things worse however, are the Terrorist groups that make the whole Middle-east / Islam look bad. A lot of great people over there I'm sure, but it's the bad apples that make the bunch look bad, so to speak. These exteremist groups claim the hurricane is a victory for the "Jihaad". Idiots. The weather doesn't do anything for anyone -- it just is.

An interesting side note, as to not sound racist or anything, there is nothing wrong with the Islamic faith. Members of the religion I am a member of (Catholicism) have historically done worse things, like during the Crusades, or burning 5 million women at the stake over 300 years ("witches" they called them, even midwives and herbologists.) No wonder why there are no women priests.

It is interesting to note that giving major storm's a name is almost seeming symbolic of mother nature having a personality, striking wrath out on certian areas or something. Maybe that's where those high wired suicidal shriekers got it from . Dunno.

A picture of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina: